Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
NASA Space Science

STS-129 Ascent Video Highlights 117

An anonymous reader sends in this link to a video of 12-1/2 minutes of Space Shuttle pr0n. The people at the Johnson Space Center put together this video of the ascent of STS-129 using multiple imagery assets — ground, air, booster, and the shuttle itself. The booster's-eye view of splashdown and immersion is something you don't see every day. As a bonus, another anonymous reader shared a beautiful photo of the shuttle flying over rugged terrain after it separated from the ISS last week.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

STS-129 Ascent Video Highlights

Comments Filter:
  • Rule 34 (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Anubis IV ( 1279820 )
    I was about to ask if anyone had already done it, but then I remembered the rule.
  • Ahh, shuttle (Score:4, Insightful)

    by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Sunday November 29, 2009 @12:21AM (#30259042) Homepage Journal

    You'll miss the old girl when she's gone.

    The two months between STS-128 and STS-129 felt so long after the mere 28 days between STS-127 and STS-128.

    • Re:Ahh, shuttle (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sznupi ( 719324 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @01:02AM (#30259202) Homepage

      Even if I'm a bit skeptical towards the overall concept (especially given the limits of tech) and how it stands in comparison to what we could do with alternatives, I will almost certainly be always able to agree with that; I don't expect we'll see any launcher that impresses more in our lifetime.

      Especially in such superb selection of shots, editing. Real life footage much more dynamic and/or breathtaking than BSG or BBC Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets (BTW, if you haven't seen it DO IT NOW), who would've known? ;)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ColdWetDog ( 752185 )
        Indeed. Pretty impressive telemetry shots. I especially like the SRB landing in the water.

        Totally cool and worth every taxpayer cent we pour into NASA. We even learn stuff as a bonus!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 )

        I had some trouble locating the video you recommended, but in the states, the video is called "Voyage to the Planets and Beyond". I hope that helps someone.

        • Re:Ahh, shuttle (Score:4, Informative)

          by sznupi ( 719324 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @01:36AM (#30259342) Homepage

          To remove any ambiguity - it has its wiki entry: []

          (and since you might want to avoid "Story" section/spoilers ;) - the US version, "Voyage to the Planets and Beyond", is a bit different / shorter)

          PS. Yes, recently canceled, awful TV-show "Defying Gravity" was based on this, supposedly. Yes, the original is unimaginably better (even when it comes to effects, despite being 5 years older)

          • Woo! Someone else who's seen this!

            Yes, definitely worth watching. Good effects, good science, a good script and even good acting --- and given that this is a fake documentary that's saying something (documentary acting normally rivals training-video acting for awfulness). It's got a few rough edges but you have to look closely to spot them.

            Do go get the uncut 4-hour BBC version, not the edited US version, though.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      You'll miss the old girl when she's gone.

      My tax wallet certainly wont. It's a cool-looking bird, but an expensive bird.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by QuantumG ( 50515 ) *

        Ya, like your taxes will go down. It costs you less than $1/year to run the shuttle program, and if they weren't blowing it on that they'd be spending it in Iraq.

        • by mforbes ( 575538 )

          Slightly more than that, but not by a whole lot. NASA's FAQ [] says each flight costs around $450m, which averaged over 138m taxpaying Americans (the 2007 taxpaying population) [] is $3.26 per flight per taxpayer. Figure three flights per year and it's still dirt cheap at $9.78/year/taxpayer. That's about what I spend on gasoline over a period of two days, and less than a single meal at Arby's.

          I don't begrudge this expense at all, given what the program has given us.

          Your argument is valid, but your numbers wer

          • by SBrach ( 1073190 )
            His numbers were only low-balled if he is in the top few percent of taxable income. You can't just divide the cost of a program by the number of tax payers when the top 20% pays over 80% of total taxes.
        • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

          It's not cost-effective for what it does. That's what I'm looking at. There are proven technologies that do it cheaper.

          • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) *

            There are proven technologies that do it cheaper.

            So long as you define "it" as "not what the shuttle does" then sure.

            There's no other vehicle with the same capabilities as the shuttle. As a result of this our "full utilization of the space station" will be significantly limited once the shuttle is retired.

            Just wait and see, when the old girl is retired you'll be saying "gee, wouldn't it be great if we had a vehicle with high down mass?" and people will say "well, ya know, we used to have this vehicle called the shuttle..."

            • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

              Well let me restate it again: for 95% of what the shuttle has *actually* been used for, it's far too expensive. Chasing that 5% just may not be worth it.

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      I always preferred STS-9 [].

    • You know what's sad about rockets and space... all that fire and fury, and the capacity of the shuttle (24.4K Kg) is lifting about one standard 20 foot shipping container (24K Kg). To LEO, mind you, not GEO. And not a "heavy" container, a standard container.
  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Sunday November 29, 2009 @12:24AM (#30259062) Homepage

    Some of that was rather amazing. The shot near the start from the external fuel tank of the shuttle separating was great. I've never seen a shot of that before.

    The two shots from the solid rocket boosters as they separate from the external fuel tank were the most incredible. They were so clean (probably since they were out of the atmosphere, and the scale) that they looked like effect shots. If you showed that to me without the rest of the context, I'd think it was a CGI simulation of what it would look like. On the other hand, the shot from the shuttle when the external fuel tank drops off looks like high-quality film from the 60s or 70s, with lots of film grain.

    Very very cool.

    • by ls671 ( 1122017 ) *

      > The two shots from the solid rocket boosters as they separate from the external fuel tank were the most incredible.

      Yep pretty impressing indeed. Watching the video, I swear I felt nervous at some point although I knew that everything went well. Smaller rocket launches seem less scary to me.

      My feelings could be justified since the NASA is going back to smaller rockets I believe, although cost considerations might also have influenced that choice.

    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Interesting)

      by quacking duck ( 607555 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @01:54AM (#30259398)

      Agree, absolutely incredible. Over the years there were lots of angles I'd wanted to see during a launch, this covered almost all of them (the remaining video would be of the tank actually burning up in the atmosphere).

      I found it odd though that the now-regular footage from the camera mounted on the fuel tank was of much lower resolution than that from other cameras. I realize the tank-cam is live stream while other footage (e.g. on the SRBs) is retrieved later, but the tank-cam looks great on TV...

    • Ingrain those images and sounds in your brain, they represent the pinnacle of our civilization. As a whole, we have given up on dreams of things bigger than we are, of goals that take decades to come to fruition. Of making the impossible happen.

      Having lived my life through the glory days of the space program. Watching the Apollo landings on the moon, the tragic losses of Apollo 1 the Challenger and the Columbia. The creation of a space station and our exploration of our planetary neighbors. The days when an

      • The movement for the continual reduction of taxes is symptomatic of the decay of our society. It represents a shift from a grand vision of our society as seen through organizations such as NASA to an inward looking consumeristic vision of society where most of our vital energies are spent either producing goods to consume or consuming those goods. It used to be that if you were really smart, you became a rocket scientist. That was where the money was...and the prestige. Now you get a degree in law or bu

        • Any chance that society has improved such that we are more aware of the social problems around us due to better access to information and the rate at which we are improving on and solving problems is not increasing at the rate at which we are becoming better at monitoring and discovering problems thus creating a perception of decline? Or maybe every generation as it has gotten older complains about the decline of civilization as they see a new generation changing the world they revered as part of their own
  • Camera info (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord Byron II ( 671689 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @12:30AM (#30259082)

    If anyone is interested, the camera they used for that shot was a Nikon D2Xs, a two-year old, 12.4MP, $5900 MSRP camera when new.

    For some reason, I'm surprised NASA is using regular off-the-shelf cameras. I almost expected it to be a custom "space-camera".

    • by sznupi ( 719324 )

      Digital camera tech have come a long way recently... (and one can't forget also about new DSLRs...EOS 5D-II gives fabulous results for the price)

      • Even the cheepie low end Nikon D300 will utterly blow your mind with its amazing capability. You are understating the case when you say they have come a long way.

    • Re:Camera info (Score:5, Informative)

      by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @01:15AM (#30259258) Homepage

      Except for changes in lubrication oil to meet NASA specifications and the adoption of a specialized firmware, the D2XS cameras used aboard the Space Shuttle and in the ISS were basically the same as commercial models. The D2XS, released in June 2006, is a high-end Nikon digital SLR camera.

      (Source [])

      Almost completely stock.... They are brutes of a camera (I have one). You could use it to pound nails in a pinch.

      • lol.... if you're willing to use a $6k camera as a hammer, I'd love to see any code you'd write:


        public void equals(int a, int b, int c, void * func){

        public int plus(int a, int b){
              return a+b;

        • No, you do not want to see what kind of code I write.....

          There's a reason I went into Biology. You should also see my shop!

          All sorts of hammers.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-129) "flying over rugged terrain" in 4288 x 2846 pixels [] via the excellent photo gallery at []

  • by rah1420 ( 234198 ) <> on Sunday November 29, 2009 @12:44AM (#30259126)

    There was a guy who once had a web site where he posted shots that nobody else would see of things like the mating in the VAB, the hardware itself (I remember seeing things like the charges that lit the explosive bolts that held the SRBs to the pad), etc., etc.)

    Unfortunately USA (United Space Alliance) got wind of this and fired him because the photos weren't cleared through NASA PAO (the Public Affairs Office) and the site came down. A shame. I've never seen images of what the pad looks like after the shuttle launches except from here.

    Now THAT was shuttle pr0n - but this was a respectable 2nd attempt.

    • by Scutter ( 18425 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @01:00AM (#30259194) Journal

      There was a guy who once had a web site where he posted shots that nobody else would see of things like the mating in the VAB, the hardware itself (I remember seeing things like the charges that lit the explosive bolts that held the SRBs to the pad), etc., etc.)

      Unfortunately USA (United Space Alliance) got wind of this and fired him because the photos weren't cleared through NASA PAO (the Public Affairs Office) and the site came down. A shame. I've never seen images of what the pad looks like after the shuttle launches except from here.

      Now THAT was shuttle pr0n - but this was a respectable 2nd attempt.

      I'm with you. I'm sick of seeing press-release photos of stuff like that. For months, we kept seeing the artsy photos of the LHC (like the one of the CMS detector) and I kept thinking "Boy, I wish they'd take a picture of that at a slight angle instead of straight on so I can get a sense of detail or scale or something." The Apollo Lunar Surface Journal is a great example of what we *should* be seeing. I want to see everything, not just what you want to show me. I want to see the nuts and bolts. Pull back the curtain, so to speak.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      I'm sure somebody kept a copy. This is the web, after all.

    • by TopSpin ( 753 ) * on Sunday November 29, 2009 @02:51AM (#30259576) Journal

      I once caught a HD shuttle launch video at NASA's site right after the launch took place, apparently before it had been so carefully edited. The sounds were incredible; you could hear the turbo pumps wind up several seconds before the liquid rockets were lit. Those are large and very high speed pumps that operate at the limit of what materials science can provide; the sound they make is simply chilling. I watched it over and over because I could not f**king believe it.

      Later versions of the same launch video had that audio removed. Can't let anyone witness any of that. Must appear as though the launch is a peaceful, happy moment that doesn't involve any sort of drama. Oh ponies!

      NASA hurts itself by letting the cowardly nature of its bureaucracy dominate the editing process. If you handed the same raw material to a Hollywood film maker with a mandate to sell tickets you would get a balls out, violent, bare knuckle collection of aerospace machinery burning, shaking and raging its way into orbit and every god damn taxpaying mope that watched it would know exactly what sort of miracle those 100+ successful missions represent.

  • While the Space Shuttles have had their share of problems, and have cost lives, they are beautiful to watch launch.

  • by ThreeGigs ( 239452 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @01:18AM (#30259274)

    "The people at the Johnson Space Center put together this video of the assent of STS-129"

    So what exactly did STS129 agree to?
    I won't grammar nazi the comments, but seeing a front page mistake like that is annoying. Especially when it's spelled right in the title.


    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So what exactly did STS129 agree to?


      12-/12 minutes of Space Shuttle pr0n

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      So what exactly did STS129 agree to?

      They gave their assent to ascent in order to affect effects for our affection. Okay, now I'm confused again.

    • by Threni ( 635302 )

      Some of the video is a little..uh.."creative", what with the large logo spinning around etc. I'd be very interested to just see each of the videos, on its own, with no crap all over it, rather than that patchwork affair. It's very good footage, ruined by what looks like someones first attempt at using video editing software.

    • s/assent/ascent

      syntax error: line 1, column 16: missing /

    • Ugh the intarwebs are ruining my reading comprehension- I could have sworn you wrote "Especially when it's spelled rite in the title." /sigh
  • C'mon, none of this imagery is in the least bit commercial, let alone exploitative...why set off all the work filters for such a worthwhile topic???
  • Anyone??
  • Absolutely stunning stuff! Everyone with even the slightest interest in the Shuttle should watch this... Amazing...
  • You know the relative position of every camera. Why can't you build a real time 3D model of the launch, vehicle, pad, their positions relative to each other, and then broadcast the whole show in 3D in Google Earth - with simulated sound effects? I'd love to, say, tether my viewpoint to the outside of the ship, watch the launch, then get "pulled along" up to space. Even show the cockpit so we can sit with the astronauts during the trip. It could be a great way to visualize launch data, and generate more
    • by lewko ( 195646 )

      It would generate more interest in Google. It would do nothing for NASA, compared to (say) IMAX and the video you just saw.

      Oh, and towing Rosie O'Donnell behind the rockets.

      • There's a lot of people who aren't near an IMAX theater. Virtually anyone with a computer could watch this online.
        • by lewko ( 195646 )

          So you're saying these people "With a computer" need to watch some kind of Google Earth simulation, and not (say) the video we all just watched?

          Question: Would you rather watch Terminator, or read the screenplay and view the storyboards...

          • Look, if you take a number of camera photos you can merge them together to form a 3d image, right? So why not do it with video, in real time? Then you'd be able to watch an event from any perspective you want. You don't get what I'm describing so let me use your analogy: Imagine watching Terminator, except that you can move around to see each scene from whatever angle you prefer, at any point in the film - you aren't forced to follow the director's POV every time through.
  • by labradore ( 26729 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @03:21AM (#30259686)
    Am I the only one who had to choke back tears watching this? Porn doesn't usually do that for me. Though I was thinking "Oh my god! I want to do that!" Which also happens when I... nevermind. This is awesome stuff!
  • My pics of the ascent: []

    The last one was pretty cool (that's the main reason I'm posting here...) I caught it just as it was passing through a cloud layer. I'd like to pretend that was good photography, but honestly it was just luck.

    • Is that your real UID? AND you shared photos that *you* took of the Shuttle?! You sir, for Slashdot, are The Right Stuff! /me, an ornery basement dweller, bows in worship

      • by Leebert ( 1694 ) *

        Heh. I'm flattered, but surely you'll take away geek points for posting a Facebook link... :)

  • I'm always curious what part of earth is in a shot from space. Suppose this picture is the only info you've got. How to go about and find the spot on earth visible in the picture? Is it doable with stuff accessible to anyone? I see roads (fields at the bottom) and ice/salt plane at the left. Now what?


    • by GPSguy ( 62002 )

      In general, it helps to know the time the image was taken. Then, using the vehicle's location, determined using Kepler's laws and the data known as Keplerian elements, you can describe the vehicle's position in orbit, and thus the sub-satellite point (place on the ground where the vehicle is directly overhead. During ascent, however, the keps are not, well, easily maintained, so a rather simpler non-linear model is employed to estimate where the vehicle is over the ground.

      If you've a rough idea of the tra

  • I know, it burns up. But I would kinda like to see that process. It seems that they have imagery from the ground of the thing in space even after it has separated. How long does it take to come down and what does that look like? That is what I found myself wondering at the end of the video.

    • by teridon ( 139550 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @08:13AM (#30260516) Homepage

      The external tank reentry is about 80 minutes after launch. It takes 8.5 minutes to empty the tank; so reentry is ~71 minutes after separation.

      You can find some images of the reentry with Google []

      e.g. []
      (scroll to bottom for image)

    • I know, it burns up. But I would kinda like to see that process. It seems that they have imagery from the ground of the thing in space even after it has separated. How long does it take to come down and what does that look like? That is what I found myself wondering at the end of the video.

      What probably happens is that it goes over the horizon and is out of range for both telescopes and the rocketcam receivers. At that point the shuttle's done most of the boost into orbit and all that is left to do is circularisation (the shuttle's tiny internal tanks don't store much delta-vee). So the tank is going to go a long way before reentering.

      But you're right --- I'd love to see its final moments. Surely, given how much money they're spending, they could station some observation stations downrange?

    • They're not too keen on showing it, seeing as it always lands in the same village in Zimbabwe, and they're starting to get annoyed.
  • I live in Central Florida so I've watched at least a dozen launches in the last 10 years. In watching this video, it appears as though the solid rocket booster separation happens after the shuttle has reached "black sky" ... in watching from the ground, I always assumed SRB separation was happening when the shuttle was still in blue skies ... or at least dark blue skies. 100,000 feet or something like that. Does anyone know the altitude that SRB separation occurs?

    Awesome video.

    • by teridon ( 139550 )

      From this "Fact Sheet []":

      About 125 seconds after launch and at an altitude of about 150,000 feet, the SRB's burn out and are jettisoned from the ET. The jettison command originates from the Orbiter, and jettison occurs when the forward and aft attach points between the SRB's and ET are blown by explosive charges

    • 177,000 feet [flash] [] (about 54 km). However, this NASA site [] says 50 km (about 164,000 feet), while this source [] says 24 nautical miles (about 146,000 feet, or 44 km). My guess is that the differences are due to variations in mass and trajectory of the shuttle for various missions, and in improvements in the design (less weight, more thrust) over the years.

      Apogee of the SRBs is at approximately 220,000 feet [] (about 67 km).

    • by huge ( 52607 )

      Does anyone know the altitude that SRB separation occurs?

      Around 150000ft (source [])

  • Is it just me or is the "beautiful photo of the shuttle flying over rugged terrain" doctored?

    The shadows on the ground and on the shuttle just don't match...

    Looks like the sun is on the top-right side for the shuttle, and bottom left side for the ground...

    • by shmlco ( 594907 )

      Look at the sunlight on the left wingtip. See the shadow from the tail and engine nozzle? Sun is fairly high to the immediate right. Now look at the ridge lines on the ground, top of the frame: shadows cast left, sun high to the right. It matches.

  • Does anyone have a link to download this? It is this kind of video I am always afraid of losing. You either lose the link or it is not posted anymore, just at the time you want to show a friend this video you have been talking about.
  • Why on earth does this look like it has gone through a VHS conversion?

    And also many here does not seem to know that all NASAs imagery is free and available on the net: []
  • We watched the ISS with the shuttle chasing behind as they passed overhead on the evening of Thanksgiving. I looked up and thought, this is the best thing we've ever done, and it may be the best thing we ever do.
  • Man, those crazy camera tracking rigs they have... Those initial tracking shots of the ascent are so stable and 'solid' they almost look like CG. Wow that was awesome. Kill those graphics and replace them with something that doesn't scream 'My other job is making powerpoint slideshows' and put it out on Blu-ray. I'll buy it.

  • Amazing indeed. I just wish NASA TV showed a bit more of this kind of footage -- advocate for NASA to hire a couple of good video editors?

    For those who don't know it, a good source of NASA video archives (besides Youtube) is [].
  • by Shatrat ( 855151 )
    They'd have been better off just launching an STS-192 and being done with it.
    That's enough bandwidth to have half the moon covered in cell towers.
  • Awesome video material, no doubt about that! It's great to see this amazing machine from these perspectives. Especially after the SRB's were disconnected with their jets still flaming while falling away.. jaw dropping!

    Also I'd like to recommend to the Space Shuttle fans the videos you can find online with a launch from an airliner.

    E.g.: []

  • I'm sure there may be comparable videos out there but i was very impressed by what i saw. It was worth watching and i intend to show it to friends. I have always been impressed by the Shuttle program and look forward to the new program when it come out.

  • Quite frankly, America rocks! I only hope the leftists in power will proceed forward with the Ares V which will be even more monstrous!

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker